Monday, May 7, 2012

Elusive Goals

2012 is my year to become intimate with my knitting machine.  Fred gave me the LK150 as a Christmas gift when I  worked at London Yarns.  There, they sell machines and give lessons.     Silly me.  Thinking the service would always be at my finger tips, I didn't take much   advantage of it.  Then,  six years ago we moved to an area I describe as a knitting machine desert.  No local stores sell them and no one locally gives lessons.

Still, I do have a guide book and a CD.  The LK150 - a beginners machine - is easy to use.  Easy to use that is, once you conquer the initial set-up, casting on and  correct tension.  However, for me, those issues are a challenge.  I get stuck  before I get started.    So, my goal for 2012 is  to learn enough to make machine knitting a viable alternative.  After all, if I am ever to make even a small dent in  my stash, something faster than my own hands and a set of needles is needed.

My knitting  machine light bulb went on recently,  when I purchased the taupe, Linen, drop-stitch vest.
This straightforward design would be easy to do on the machine.  I had five balls of Baby Bamboo in a summery orange.  Let the learning begin!

 Understand that not only am I trying to learn/re-learn the machine, but I have no pattern for the vest.  I need to design my own.   And with my ever-present attitude that  some call  'fearless' or
 'en-toos- isastic'   but  I  call  my  'always-biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew' ,  if I was going to design my own, why not write up the pattern so I can gift it to my   my machine-knitting friends?  Learn  a new skill while designing a pattern and  at the same time write out the pattern so others can understand and use it. Can you see where this is going?  Triple the  knitting issues, a trio of trouble. 

Add to that the challenging bit of info delivered by  my friend Patti-Ann.  Our mutual friend Janet knit a vest on the machine in 50 minutes.  Cast on to cast off.  50 minutes.

In the  first 50 minutes of my attempt, I remembered how to cast on.  One thing learned.    Next I moved on to the design part.  In hand knitting a dropped stitch pattern is just that   - a, that is one,  dropped stitch.  In machine knitting, dropping only one stitch gives you ribbing.  Fake ribbing to be sure,  but to the non-knitting eye, ribbing.  Another thing learned.  Rip.

Two dropped stitches turns out to be the look I am after.  Now onto a gauge swatch.  One.  Rip.  Two.  Rip.  Three.  Rip.  I  stopped counting. Rip.  Rip.  Rip.

Finally, many multiples of fifty-minute segments later, success  of a sort,    has been achieved.  There are a few dropped stitches where there shouldn't be dropped stitches so they will need to be tied off.

 I have no idea if my gauge info translated into a vest that will fit.  And the pattern writing idea has been tossed.  My scribbled notes barely got me through the project, they would never work for anyone else.  But I did learn lots.  Not the least of which is that Baby Bamboo by Sirdar is one tough yarn.  It stood up ot the multiple rip backs and still looks great.  And,  I  have a vest.
Three pieces, knit and blocked.  Ready to be sewn together.  That's today's project.  


Sandra said...

For today's installment of "Brenda and Sandra were separated at birth", my LK-150 was also a gift from my husband.

Anonymous said...

I admire your perseverence, your determination...and your new vest!


Linda said...

What a great (as in inspiring) post!
Love the vest color, too.